When people think of indoor gardens, very rarely is the pineapple the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, most people wouldn’t believe that you can actually grow a large pineapple in your own home. While you certainly need a good deal of space for this large plant, for those that have ample growing room it’s entirely possible. Not only do you get a delicious fruit, but the tropical look of the plant is very pleasing to the eye. Today we’ll look at how you can grow a pineapple in a container indoors.
Indoor Pineapples Overview
- Pineapples need a good deal of space to grow, start with a large enough pot to accommodate future growth.
- Pineapples need a lot of sun, look to get 8+ hours per day.
- It takes several years from planting to harvesting so be prepared to wait.
- Pineapples will produce shoots that can be cut and replanted to grow new plants.
- Pineapples enjoy warm temperatures and do not fare well in cold or drafty locations.
Pineapple plants will grow to be quite large (several feet across) and will require a large pot to grow them in. Having a large, 3 or 5-gallon planting container is going to be the minimum requirement for a full-grown plant. Any smaller and you risk stunting the plant’s growth. However, during the early stages of its life, up to about a year, you can get away with using smaller pots. You’ll just have to repot it as the plant grows larger.
Outside of size, any type of container will work provided it has proper drainage. Make sure your chosen container has drainage holes along the sides and bottom.
Planting the Pineapple
Pineapples are usually grown from the crown of another. Next time you buy a pineapple, look for one that is evenly ripe and has a nice, full set of green leaves on top. These are the signs of a healthy fruit, and give you the best chance of growing your own.
Start by cutting off the crown of the pineapple and take care to remove any remaining fruit or rind. If not done properly, these parts of the plant can rot later.
Next, remove some leaves from the bottom of the crown exposing roughly an inch or so of bare stalk. Set this aside for a few days until it has dried out.
Finally, place the crown into high quality, fast-draining potting soil. The plant should start to be watered now with just enough to keep it moist. After about 1-3 months the plant should start to root and be ready to be moved to a larger container if needed.
You can also purchase a pre-grown plant if you’re having a hard time finding a suitable pineapple. This can simplify the process a bit, but you lose out on the fun of rooting a pineapple.
Like most fruits, pineapples require lots of bright sunlight. Generally, 6-8 hours is a safe bet. It can survive bouts of shade, but try to maintain consistent lighting for optimal growth.
Grow lights are another great option for those having a hard time getting enough light. Choose one that is high-intensity to ensure your plant is getting enough light. Grow lights are also good to help supplement during the winter when natural light is less intense.
Pineapples like to be consistently moist, but don’t like to be sitting in water. Generally, you should check the top 1-2 inches of soil, and water when that is dry to the touch. This will usually be about 2-3 times per week depending on the temperature. It’s important to note that pineapples absorb much of their water through their leaves, so when watering do so top down instead of watering the soil directly.
When watering, make sure to thoroughly soak the soil. Pineapples are tolerant to being under-watered, but will grow more slowly if not getting enough water. The reverse is not true however, and pineapples are at risk of overwatering. Too much water can lead to the fungal disease root rot which will kill your plant. Therefore, it’s usually better to err on the side of under-watering, but do your best to provide proper amounts for optimal growth.
For feeding, provide a young plant with a water based fertilizer once a month during the growing season. After the first season, you can cut back to about once every other month. You can also cut back during the cooler months, generally, a dose at the beginning of winter is enough to last until spring.
Temperature and Humidity
Pineapples are solidly in the tropical category and enjoy temperatures that reflect that. Look to keep that at a minimum of 65° Fahrenheit, but try to hit closer to 80° for best results. Any lower than this and it can cause harm to the plant. As you might imagine, any sort of frost is best to be avoided.
Pineapples aren’t super sensitive to humidity, so are likely to be fine in most homes. During the winter, you can lightly mist them if you notice that the air is excessively dry. This often isn’t needed though, and when done should be done sparingly. You don’t want to soak the plant, just a light misting is more than enough.
Pineapples are a great candidate for moving outdoors in the summer, and the increased sun intensity can help increase their growth rate. You want to make sure that you’re moving them to a sunny location, and after any threat of frost has passed.
You also want to be careful with watering them when they’re outside. If you’re in an area that gets a decent amount of rain, then this might be enough to keep the plant healthy. It’s still possible to overwater the plant when it’s outside, so check the soil before watering.
Lastly, you want to be sure that you bring them back in as the temperature drops. Make sure to move them indoors well before the first frost date.
As the pineapple grows it will begin to put offshoots that can be replanted. These can be cut from the parent plant and will produce a brand new plant. Wait until they’re about 6-8 inches long, then cut them off and plant them in moist, well-draining potting soil. Keep them in partial shade for a few months until they take hold, then continue with normal care. These will generally produce new fruit faster than starting from a full fruit, so are a great way to keep your pineapple garden going.
Generally, it will take about 2-3 years before the plant begins to flower and produce fruit. Once it does flower, it will take another couple of months before it begins to bear fruit. The size of the fruit will depend on the plant size, the larger the plan the larger the fruit. Don’t be discouraged if you get a smaller fruit though, it is still delicious.
You’ll want to pick the pineapples once they are about 2/3 golden yellow. This is slightly before they ripen, you can leave them out for a few days after harvesting during which they will fully ripen. Simply cut the pineapple from its plant where it meets the stalk using a sharp knife. A plant will generally only produce a single fruit, so after the harvest expect your plant to die back. For a continuous supply, try repotting the shoots your plant puts out before your harvest it.
Growing Pineapples Indoors
Pineapples are a fun and exotic plant that are surprisingly easy to grow indoors. Given ample room, and a sunny spot, it’s relatively easy to grow a pineapple in a container. Using these techniques you’ll be growing delicious pineapples in no time!
Growing Pineapples FAQ
How Long Do Pineapples Take To Grow?
Pineapples will take a few years to flower, at which point it will be about another 6 months before they bear fruit.
Can Pineapples Be Grown Indoors?
Yes, given a large enough container (about 5 gallons) and enough sun pineapples are actually quite easy to grow indoors.
What Conditions Do Pineapples Need To Grow?
Pineapples need warmth and lots of sunlight for proper growth. They should also be kept a little moist, but not excessively so.